The Kitchen Great Room – an Inviting and Comfortable Place
A popular interior design trend is making your kitchen a part of a great room, a functional, well-lit, open and spacious place that combines the kitchen with an adjacent family and dining room, a center of home activity; a kitchen island or peninsula could connect two of its parts and serve as a focal point of this space, moreover, it allows the cook to keep in visual and conversational contact with family members or guests.
Always keep in mind, it is light that will enliven your great room; furthermore, since the great kitchen is one large multipurpose space, usually it is only lighting that indicates the different activity zones.Consider including as much natural light in your great room as possible – a wall of large windows or skylights or even French doors opening to balconies are excellent design ideas to add a feeling for spaciousness and style as well as to enhance the overall ambience of the area. Try to incorporate a window seat to take advantage of the sunlight – a bench or a settee and an end table complement one another for a comfortable reading place, which could be accessorised with a matching table lamp to provide artificial light for the evenings and throw pillows.
Brighten up the walls by painting them with lighter and vibrant colours; moreover, they will create a feeling for a bigger place. Neutral palette could visually make the different zones of the space flow easily one into another and give the appearance of a cohesive look. A great option is to paint one wall a different colour to break up the monotony, for instance a green and khaki pairing. Another option is to decorate each room with its own colour scheme and keep the space connected through the creative use of a few common colours, including through bringing in accessories; however, be careful to avoid adding too much as this will create a chaotic effect; if you have multiple items you would like to display, think about rotating them so that each piece could stand out the way it should.
Consider carefully the window treatment as to make each zone relate to the next; it is up to your taste whether to use same curtains, finials, blinds, and shutters in all areas or play with colours to complement one another, repeating at least one throughout the whole space.
Actually, it is sufficient artificial lighting that could help to visually divide the different zones of this multifunctional open space, which incorporates at least three independent areas – cooking, dining, and sitting. Of course, the most efficient lighting scheme must include different sources and layers of lighting; it is advisable to blend general/ambient, task, accent, and decorative lights and make them work together for an inviting and attractive environment.
Do not overlook general lighting, its warm glow makes people feel welcome; it may include flush – mounted ceiling fixtures, adjustable track lights, spot lighting for over the dining area, as well as a large centrally located chandelier to illuminate the entire space.
Task lighting includes fixtures underneath the overhead cabinets and over the kitchen island; generally, anywhere you need some extra focused light to work efficiently, make use of task lighting; for instance, strip lights are a great option for under – cabinet lighting, and pendants – for over the island; for the sitting and reading zones opt for table and floor lamps, for above the cooking area tracks are suitable, and a chandelier – for over the dinner table.
Add accent lighting to accentuate architectural elements, collectibles and pieces of art, plants, or the backsplash over the sink or the fireplace, in general, anything you would like to make a decorative focal point. Opt for track and spot lights, up – lighters, and wall sconces, they are all great accent options. Wall sconces could also be used to mark the transition between the zones within the great room, while up lighting can add drama and colour at night.
You could always consider bringing in decorative lights for visual appeal and a dramatic touch to the space.
Apply dimmers and switches to co-ordinate lighting levels as to modulate the mood and environment; for more flexibility, consider using different dimmers for each layer of light; moreover, a “scene” integration system that allows presetting, typically, four different lighting levels could also be applied.
So, keep in mind that lighting helps defining the different areas in the space; moreover, it draws attention to the focal points; a flexible scheme will help creating different combinations as to suit the mood you need.